Being pregnant is one of the most enjoyable and exciting times of your life. Growing a human being is pretty amazing and your body is pretty damn amazing for being able to do it! Not only does your body innately know how to grow a baby but it also makes innate changes to the biomechanical structure of your body. However, as a result of this some women experience a lot of discomfort and pain during pregnancy especially when their structure was a little bit compromised to begin with (I’m talking poor posture, muscle imbalances ect).


One of the most common conditions pregnant women get is a pain in the butt (literally!) called sciatica.


chiropractor for sciatica diamond creek

The term Sciatica can be overused by both patients and clinicians as it tends to be a thrown around diagnosis. So what I want to cover in this piece is what sciatica ACTUALLY is and how a chiropractor for sciatica can help. 

What is sciatica? 

I get so many clients come in with the initial complaint of sciatica. When I ask them to explain there issue they tend to say “I have pain in the low back with referring pain down one or both legs”. Many people think that sciatica itself is a condition or diagnosis, however, sciatica is merely a symptom of something else happening in the body.

The official definition of sciatica is:

pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disc


chiropractor for sciatica diamond creek

Sciatica gets its name due to the trajectory of the pain down the sciatic nerve which is a big nerve that begins at the lower part of the spinal cord, exits between your lower back vertebrae (spine bones) and runs all the way down the back of your leg to your foot. This is why some people feel the pain all the way down from their low back to their foot. It is usually described as a sharp shooting pain although it can also be accompanied by tingling and numbness.

True sciatica is caused by degeneration in the lower back discs or joints OR a bulging disc compressing on the exiting nerves and therefore causing pain down the sciatic nerve. Another good way to think about it is to think about a long wire which has a free-flowing current through it. When nothing touches it, it works well with no interference. However, when something touches it at one end it messes up the signal the whole way down the wire and in this example causes pain down the wire.



Now it is important to note here that majority of people who come in with “sciatica” do not actually have sciatica as this would mean that they all have degeneration in their low back or a bulging disc. This especially makes sense when we start to think about sciatica during pregnancy. Pregnancy doesn’t cause degeneration within your spine and in most cases, it won’t cause a disc to bulge.

Are you pregnant and suffering with sciatica? Let me help you! Call me now to book an appointment

Sciatica during pregnancy

So now you understand what sciatica really is you can see that women who are pregnant don’t usually suffer with true sciatica. There is the occasional one which will suffer from a bulging disc due to the increased weight through their growing bump and the affect this can have on the low back. However for most pregnant women this is not the case.


Instead most causes of ‘sciatica’ in pregnancy are actually due to one of the following causes:

  1. Postural imbalances
  2. Biomechanical joint dysfunction (subluxations)
  3. Piriformis syndrome
  4. Water retention causing swelling which can press on the sciatic nerve
  5. The baby compressing the sciatic nerve

 Let’s take a quick look at how these can mimic sciatica during pregnancy



Postural Imbalances

As your baby grows and gets bigger and bigger there is a big gravitational change in your body. Your centre of gravity shifts forwards and as a result you low back starts to sway to help balance this out and prevent you from falling forwards.

Biomechanical Joint Dysfunction

 Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in your body. As mentioned above it can change your centre of gravity making you shift your posture. As a result of this, joints have to change how they move and function and this can cause them to become restricted and tight. This is what we as chiropractors call a subluxation.

A subluxation occurs when the joints of the spine fail to move properly and/or the spinal bones become misaligned causing interference with the nerve messages from the brain to the body and/or from the body to the brain

Subluxations also tend to cause tightening of surrounding muscles as a way to protect the joint from further damage. So, the combination of tight muscles and altered control signals from the brain can result in sciatic like pain.

Piriformis Syndrome 

This, in my opinion is one of the most common causes of sciatica. The piriformis muscle is a flat band like muscle that sits within the buttocks and attaches from your sacrum to the top of your femur (leg bone) within the hip joint. Its role is to stabilise the hip joint and lift and rotate the hip out.

Piriformis syndrome is when the muscle gets really tight or spasms and compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve which either runs under, over or through the muscle. The piriformis can become tight due to a number of reasons but mainly due to the 2 conditions I have mentioned above (i.e. postural imbalances and subluxations of the pelvis, low back or hip) or from too much sitting and not enough moving!

Pregnancy Related Water Retention

This occurs for a lot of women during pregnancy due to the changes in hormones. Water retention can cause pooling of fluid which can be enough to compress the sciatic nerve causing pain.

The Baby 

As mentioned, the sciatic nerve is a collection of different nerve roots that start in your low back and trave down your leg. As it exits the low back it actually runs underneath the uterus. As your baby starts growing and getting bigger and if sitting in just the right spot it can compress the nerve itself which can cause static pain.

Are you pregnant and suffering with sciatica? Let me help you! Call me now to book an appointment

Chiropractor For Sciatica

Traditional sciatic treatment tends to focus on treating the symptoms and reducing the pain rather than focusing on removing the underlying cause. This may be through the use of an anti-inflammatory or pain medication. While this may temporarily reduce the pain, it is more than likely that the pain will come back when the medications wear off.

As a chiropractor I like to focus on finding the underlying cause of the sciatic pain and treat that. Whether this is a subluxation, piriformis syndrome or postural imbalances I find that by addressing the underlying cause we get a more long-term relief of the symptoms.

Chiropractic treatment of sciatica during pregnancy involves a detailed history and examination where we look at how your body is moving and functioning. Then I use a combination of manual therapies such as specific chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapy and stretches to alleviate the dysfunctions I have. If appropriate I will also prescribe specific exercises that will help relieve and prevent sciatic during pregnancy.  



chiropractor forchiropractor for pregnancy sciatica diamond creek
Book your appointment with Dr Alana – a Chiroprator with a special interest in pregnancy and paediatrics.